High in the Mountain
Country music from a imaginary country.
Root-tronic music of the Elements.
Stephen is based in the upper reaches of Allegheny County Pennsylvania in a very small rural farming and fracking community.
Dobro (resonator guitar) and lap steel guitars are mixed with electronics, banjo, accordions, flutes and Irish whistles; creating atmospheres and textures that evoke dream-states and other-worldly environments. Earth-based sounds, reflect the mysteries of early evening in the mountains and deeply-wooded hideaways.
Two years in the making, Stephen plays over a dozen instruments, about half of which he had never played before. Literally teaching himself banjo, dobro and dulcimer (among others) as he learned to perform his original songs.
"I play all the instruments on the album. If I didn't own the instrument, I borrowed, rented or bought it. After learning the basics, I'd teach myself my own song. It was about a two year process. I found this to be a very interesting approach...I hope enjoy the result."
Stephen's musical history is long and varied. Starting in the late 1970’s with the seminal Pittsburgh progressive rock band Carsickness. He then founded the Irish rock group Ploughman’s Lunch. Later Stephen formed the sound healing/meditation duo Life In Balance.
For over 14 years Stephen toured the country with Life In Balance, producing numerous sound healing CDs featuring electronically-processed Japanese Shakuhachi. Each release expanding the listener-focused experience by creating trances and hypnotic states with lush sound environments.
Currently a member and songwriter for the musical duo Standing Wave, the group centers their musical intention by creating intelligent Americana intwined with world-dance experiences.
Reviews: "I compare his voice to Waylon Jennings crossed with Ian Curtis of Joy Division. I mean it as a high compliment. I think it's fantastic! The first thing that comes to mind is "Acid Country" but that doesn't quite capture it. Haunting, hypnotic, funny. MAGNIFICENT."
-Jim Dauterive, the mastermind behind King of the Hill and Bob's Burgers.
“Is it too early to proclaim this the album of the year? With this album Stephen advances folk music to, as we say in Pittsburgh, "a whole nother level." There's not a single immemorable melody or misplaced note throughout these 11 songs.
My favorites, for what it's worth: "Driftwood Maps" with its sweet-sounding steel guitar melody; "Head Cleaner," a dobro instrumental with interesting percussion; "Love Horses" a genuinely fun tune with tempo shifts, stops and starts, steel guitar blasts, and an array of electronic sounds that sometimes give the impression of an engine on its last legs grinding the song to a halt and starting it up again; "Disintegration is Painless" and the relaxing, heartfelt "Willow Water," an instrumental with dobro and wind instruments.
One of my favorite authors, the late Albert Cossery, once defended his lazy lifestyle by declaring laziness a virtue, stating that if one works too hard, one isn't taking the time to enjoy the works of many artists and musicians to whom God gave talent for us to enjoy. For Stephen to come up with this concept, master so many musical instruments, and so fully realize his artistic vision, I have to think that he was one of the folks that Cossery was talking about.
-Amazon review from Electric Banana Joe
released February 13, 2017
This album is self-produced. All music, lyrics, instruments, mixing and recording by Stephen Sciulli.
Thank you to Inga Jensen, Standing Wave, Paul Ferraro, Bob Grealish, Dennis Childers, Life In Balance and to all the local Rustic Dandies who put up with me over the last two years as I pulled this album together.
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